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February 2020 Board Highlights

The Indianapolis Public Schools Board of School Commissioners convened for its Board Review Session on Tuesday, Feb. 25, and Board Action Session on Thursday, Feb. 27. Topics included updates on the Innovation School Restart process, a new textbook adoption and textbook rental fee collection.

What follows is a deeper look at some of those agenda items.

Innovation Restart Process Update

Chief Portfolio Officer Jamie VanDeWalle discussed next steps for Innovation Restart recommendations and update the Board on the Emma Donnan K-8 process.

What Audiences Need to Know:

  • IPS is recommending the following schools for Innovation Restart for the 2020-21 school year:
  • Louis B. Russell Jr. School 48
  • Stephen Foster School 67
  • Engagement events at each school have included:
  • Staff meetings and conversations.
  • Family listening sessions.
  • Conversations with the applicant.
  • Community council meetings.
  • Applicant-led engagement meetings.

Key Messages

  • The district will continue engagement activities at both sites, evolving into applicant-led events.
  • Innovation agreements will be presented to the Board on March 17, with the Board vote on March 19.

Emma Donnan K-8 Transition

Key Messages:

  • Adelante Schools is the proposed Innovation partner for Emma Donnan.
  • Adelante has engaged with families, 10 neighborhood associations and community partners and will continue that engagement.
  • The Innovation agreement will be presented to the Board for a vote in March.

ACTION: For Information Only

English Language Arts Textbook Adoption

Interim Curriculum Officer Jessica Dunn and Director of Instructional Design and Support Amanda Koth presented a proposal for the adoption of new English Language Arts (ELA) textbooks.

What Audiences Need to Know:

  • Research shows one of the best ways to dramatically improve student learning and engagement is to give teachers high-quality instructional materials and the support they need to use those resources.
  • New ELA textbooks were last adopted during the 2012–13 school year.
  • New state ELA guidelines were adopted in 2014.

Key Messages:

  • District ELA coaches collaboratively created a template to review textbooks from several publishers.
  • Classrooms in various grades throughout the district piloted textbooks from selected publishers.
  • Each publisher was evaluated in the following ways:
    • Principals attended presentations from all vendors.
    • Principals requested additional materials for review.
    • Each school voted for desired vendor.
  • Vendors were selected based on a number of criteria including:
    • Alignment to standards.
    • Structure and design.
    • Accessibility.
    • Timeline for textbook adoption and implementation:
  • Textbook Adoption: Funding
    • Textbook adoption is the precursor to creating a self-sustaining funding source for textbook purchases.
    • Estimated costs for recommended materials equals $4 million.
    • Textbook rental rates for SY 2020-21 will increase for schools who are receiving the benefit of the adoption. Approximate annual financial impact per student equals a $40-50 increase.

ACTION: Approved 6-0